MAGNOLIA – Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe will be the featured speaker when Southern Arkansas University dedicates the new University Science Center at noon on Monday, April 5. The outdoor ceremony will take place in the plaza area directly in front of the facility. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Warnock Lecture Hall on the first floor of the Science Center. A reception will follow. Tours of the facility will be available, and the public is invited to attend.
Construction on the 60,000-square-foot facility began in October 2008 at a cost of more than $17.2 million which includes the main building, district cooling system upgrades, parking, landscaping, furniture, audio-visual equipment and design fees. The general contractor for the project is CDI Contractors of Little Rock, and the architects are WER Architects/Planners of Little Rock.
The University plans to occupy the University Science Center in May with classes beginning in the building this summer. The facility will house the departments of biology, chemistry and physics in the College of Science and Technology. These departments have previously been housed in Overstreet and Wilson Halls.
Planning for the University Science Center began in 2003 when the Arkansas General Assembly appropriated $240,000 to SAU to prepare a proposal for a science and technology building. During the next two bienniums, the University received additional funding, and in 2006, Governor Mike Huckabee awarded $601,747 to the project. Governor Mike Beebe followed with a $1 million award in 2007.
As a result of a special election and the passage of the Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act, SAU received $1,432,980 for the project. The University has also issued bonds in the amount of $14 million, and private funds have been raised by the SAU Foundation.